HC Deb 09 May 1904 vol 134 cc761-2
SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)

I beg to ask the hon. Member for North Huntingdonshire, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he will state why no tenant farmers have been placed on the Departmental Committee appointed by the President of the Board of Agriculture to inquire into the rates charged by British railway companies for the carriage of foreign and colonial produce; and whether the President will appoint at least two such representatives of a class who are so much affected by such rates.

MR. AILWYN FELLOWES (Huntingdonshire, Ramsey)

The Committer held its first sitting on Thursday last, and has arranged to invite chambers of agriculture to specify the complaints of members of their several chambers. The adoption of the suggestion made by the hon. Baronet would entail a considerable enlargement of the Committee and disturb the balance of its composition. It is not, therefore, possible for my noble friend, the President of the Board, now to give effect to it. We are, however, very anxious at all times to secure the assistance of tenant farmers in connection with inquiries initiated by the Department, but in this instance the subject-matter is one of considerable technical difficulty, and such assistance can most usefully be given by means of oral and written evidence as to particular rates which appear to call for examination.


But do not farmers possess technical knowledge on this subject quite as much as railway directors?


Quite so, but my noble friend thinks tenant farmers will do better by giving information to the Committee than by serving on it.